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Last Girls, Chapter Fifteen

11/16/16

  02:32:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 1177 words  
Categories: Last Girls

Last Girls, Chapter Fifteen

?It looks worse than it is,? Alan said, probing at the still fresh ax-wound in his stomach.
?Really?? Kelly asked. ?Because it kind of looks like that guy tore you a new ax-hole.?
?He did,? he said, ?and while you never want an ax-hole in your torso,? he jabbed a sewing needle through the loose flap of skin at the top, ?this particular wound is shallow. It's the best possible kind of ax-hole.?
?What the hell are you kids doing?? a loud voice barked from behind them. A man with thin hair poorly hidden by a comb-over, short, squat, and pudgy, exited from the trees. He was wearing a rumpled dress shirt, slacks, a tie and a trenchcoat. ?Firing off guns, raising a-?
He stopped flat when he saw that Denny was holding a gun- a big gun. ?Whoa, there, kid,? he said, reaching for his belt ?I'm leaving my rosco where it lies; just drawing my badge.? He pushed his coat back, exposing a hip holster, as well as a badge hanging off his pants. ?I'm going to need you to lower the piece, son- for my safety as well as yours.?
Denny took his finger off the trigger, and put it slowly on the ground.
?Thanks,? the officer said. ?Now, again, for my safety, and yours, I want to put you in cuffs.? He reached for his belt on the other side, and unbuttoned them from a hanging holder.
?Whoa,? Denny said, putting up his hands.
?He didn't do anything,? Kelly protested.
?Maybe not,? the officer said. ?But I'll tell you what I can see at the moment. One guy's bleeding from the stomach. One's tied to a tree with a stump that I'd wager had a hand attached to it earlier in the evening. And this gentleman was brandishing a firearm, one recently discharged. Something happened here, and until I've got backup, I'm going to treat all of you as suspect.?
?It's-? Denny sighed heavily, and turned his back to the officer. ?Just be careful, okay?? he put his hands behind his back.
?I'm just looking to get to the bottom of things.?
?Yeah, well, you might want to call in that back-up,? Betsy said, and he squared towards her, his hand hovering instinctively over his holster. ?Not- we aren't the problem. We were attacked. Animals, maybe some kind of-?
?Mountain men,? Kelly interjected. ?Big, inbred Deliverance kind.?
?Or Chainsaw Massacre.? Lark added. ?They hurt our friends. We were defending ourselves.? She glanced at the fire, and he followed her eyes to the corpse still sizzling on the embers.
?Jesus Christ,? he said, running to the pit, and rolling the body out with his feet. ?Why were you people roasting a fucking torso??
?He wouldn't stop,? Kelly said.
?He wanted to shoot us. And even after we got his guns away...?
?There's something not right about these killers,? Betsy said.
?They're right,? Denny said. ?This wasn't crackheads looking for a fix, or hillbilly highwaymen or bikers or anything you might reasonably expect to have an encounter with.?
?Okay, everyone needs to be quiet,? the officer said. ?I'm going to call this in. Right now, I think you're all going to a rubber room, and for even entertaining the idea you might not all be lunatics, I'm probably getting myself measured for a matching straight-jacket, too. But assuming I can cajole somebody else into helping me figure out just what the hell exactly happened here, I'm going to keep your buddy cuffed, your muscular buddy tried to a tree, and the other buddy lying where I can see him.?
?Works for me,? Alan said from the ground. ?Since it kind of hurts when I do anything that isn't laying here- which includes breathing.?
?Wonderful. And everyone else, no sudden movements, if you've got any other weapons or anything that might double as a weapon, now's the time to tell me without it seeming like you were going to use it on me.?
Betsy and Kelly exchanged a glance, and Kelly nodded. ?The cowboy, he had another pistol. The big prick with the ax knocked it out of my hands, on the ground over here.?
The officer trained a flashlight on the fallen leaves. A sliver of silver shined from underneath oranges and browns. ?Wonderful,? he said. ?And I appreciate you kids cooperating. It goes a way to making me believe you- unbelievable as this whole thing seems.?
He walked behind Denny, picked up the other revolver and slid it in his waistband. Then he took hold of Denny's elbow, tilted is so he could control his movement, and lead him to the far end of the clearing, and a fallen log. ?Have a seat, kid,? he said. He helped Denny sit. The log was moist, and covered with a slick moss. ?They know,? he said. ?You have to know that, right??
?Know what?? Denny asked. ?And you never gave us a name.?
?Detective Keever, homicide.? He patted his shirt pocket, then shrugged. ?I'd give you my card, but you're in cuffs so you couldn't put it away, and I ain't sliding one in your pants.? The detective smiled to himself. ?But they've got to know the truth by now. I know, and I just got here.?
?Know what?? Denny asked.
The detective bobbed his head, and made gagging sounds, then raised an eyebrow. ?That you're playing the kid on the ground's skin flute. They know. It's plain as they gay on your face. Or are you actually going to insult me by lying about it? Nuh-uh. That I can't smell that sweet stink of him on your breath? A mint would have taken care of that. Cadaverine, it's called; present in corpses and cumshots. And everybody here knows it. Seeing as how you comport yourself, I'm guessing they get a good laugh about it anytime you're... well, where you are right now, out of earshot.?
?They wouldn't do that,? Denny said, rocking to try o calm himself.
?Maybe not,? the detective said with a shrug. ?And maybe they haven't even figured it out for themselves yet. They don't seem like the brightest bulbs in the box- and I don't mean that to say that they're enviro-conscious and responsible, either. But I have ways of enlightening them, if you step out of line.? He pulled a polaroid from his shirt pocket. It was Denny and Alan, from earlier in that day.
?Fuck you,? Denny said, but the fight was completely out of him. ?I didn't do anything to you.?
?That's true,? he said, shoving the picture back in his shirt.
?Will you at least call for back-up. You're going to do what you'll do, but it isn't safe to stay out here like this.?
Denny heard a heavy heartbeat approaching from his right, and saw the same movement in the shadows he'd seen before, a man so wide and tall he could be mistaken in this mist for a tree. ?Oh, sweetheart,? the detective said with a grin that made him shiver, ?my back-ups already here.?

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Nicolas Wilson is a writer and journalist. An archive featuring hundreds of short stories, comics and essays can be found here.

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